Continuous or ‘infinite’ scrolling courses are more and more popular in eLearning course design. But when it comes to designing scrolling compliance courses, there are some specific considerations that should be made to deliver the best results.
Modern web design and mobile devices have made continuous scrolling websites ubiquitous. While elearning has been slower to adopt this style of navigation, it’s now widely used, with the traditional horizontal ‘click next’ style of navigation starting to fall out of favor.
Why Have Scrolling Compliance Courses?
There are a range of benefits to scrolling navigation that have boosted its adoption in recent years:
1) It’s Familiar
We’re all used to scrolling through content (such as blogs or news feeds), ecommerce websites and apps, and social media on our phones.
So why should the way we learn be any different?
Younger learners, in particular, will be unlikely to have experienced any other way of consuming digital content.
2) It Matches Modern Web Design Standards
It’s highly unlikely you’ll come across a website that does not scroll in some way. Some ecommerce sites do still use some form of pagination due to the sheer amount of products they need to display, but shoppers still scroll to view each page.
3) It’s Visually Rich and Engaging
Scrolling provides opportunities to create visually rich experiences that help immerse learners.
Screen elements can transition in and off-screen to create a sense of movement. Parallax scrolling can also be used to create a sense of animation that is particularly engaging and pleasant to interact with.
4) It’s Perfect for Telling Stories
Paginated navigation can sometimes break up the flow of information for your learners. A scrolling course can make it easier to communicate a sequence of information, with the learner smoothly scrolling to reveal the next part of a story, conversation, or scenario.
Important Considerations for Scrolling Compliance Courses
Mimicking modern web experiences with scrolling navigation makes a lot of sense, especially considering the reasons we’ve mentioned above. But it’s important to consider the differences between browsing online and taking a compliance critical course.
Scrolling is inherently a more passive experience than having to click to access further information. Research on how users interact with scrolling sites has found they tend to only put real focus on the top or end of the scrolling page, with a drop-off in attention in the middle.
It’s relaxing to scroll through news articles and social media. In these situations, learning isn’t the key goal. People often skip content as they scroll. If we miss the odd paragraph or tweet, many people feel that this doesn’t really matter.
Meeting compliance regulations often requires your learners to understand complex rules and be able to apply them correctly in realistic situations. The content in your learning is critical to helping them achieve these goals. If learners miss content, they may make decisions that result in serious consequences. When it comes to compliance, learners need to be actively learning, not passively consuming.
Getting Maximum Learner Engagement From Scrolling Compliance Courses
This risk with scrolling doesn’t mean it should be avoided for all compliance courses. Our experience of designing scrolling compliance courses has helped us to develop different scrolling styles to ensure:
- content has impact
- learners are engaged, and
- learning objectives are achieved.
This is an ideal solution for compliance, as it delivers a modern web design experience while ensuring all of the content in a course is viewed.
Partial scrolling works in different ways: the scrolling can be halted until the learner has selected different interactions, or it can be a series of vertical pages that the learner either clicks or scrolls to load.
Continuous Scrolling With Action Points
Giving learners the freedom to explore a topic can be a valuable tool to create higher learner engagement. When your learners feel trusted and free to explore, rather than tied down, they are empowered to learn.
It’s also worth noting that forcing learners to look at content does not mean they will actually take it in. Unfortunately, some learners will click through content without really reading it.
One way to get the best of both worlds is to create scrolling topics that include activities to check knowledge. These can occur part-way through or at the end of a topic to provide a gateway to the next.
Continuous Scrolling With Rigorous Assessment
Learners can have the freedom to explore content with a scrolling navigation style when knowledge uptake is sufficiently challenged with an end-of-course assessment. If learners cannot pass the assessment, they return to the content and review it again.
This approach has the benefit of targeting learner empowerment alongside meeting strict compliance requirements.